Mahidol Day is held each year on September 24th in remembrance of Prince Mahidol who is honored in Thailand as the father of modern Thai medicine. He was the father of Bhumibol Adulyadej, the late King Rama IX.

Prince Mahidol is best known as the doctor prince. His highness studied public health at Harvard University, and he later gained an MD from the same institution. He worked tirelessly to improve medical and public health care once he returned home to Thailand.

Prince Mahidol was the son of King Rama V.  He was born in 1892 and attended Harrow School in London for his secondary education. When he was thirteen years of age he was bestowed the honor of Prince of Songkhla. His highness received military training at the Royal Prussian Military Preparatory College where he was considered an exceptional student. When he returned to Thailand in 1914 he was given a teaching post at the Royal Navy Academy.

The young prince seemed to be destined for a distinguished military career, but he developed a deep interest in medicine. He was close to his half brother the Prince of Rangsit, who was then in charge of the Ministry of Health, and they would often discuss the health care situation in Thailand.

They were both concerned about how far the country lagged behind western countries, and they knew that the people deserved better. Prince Mahidol felt a deep calling to put this situation right, and he devoted the rest of his life to achieving this aim.

In 1925 he returned to Harvard as a medical student and he received his degree in Medicine in 1927.  He quickly gained a reputation for being an exceptional physician who put in far more hours than could be expected of an intern.

Prince Mahidol died of kidney disease on the 24 September 1929. His death came as a real shock to the people of Thailand who had begun to affectionately refer to him as Mho Chao Faa – which can be translated as the doctor prince.